Christmas in Abruzzo becomes even more suggestive thanks to the historic train line that connects the region to Molise, the Trans-Siberian of Italy, a unique journey through National Parks, Nature Reserves, green expanses and narrow gorges. A slow journey that allows to reach some of the most characteristic destinations for the local Christmas markets. Here are the must-visit stops along the journey.
Christmas markets in Abruzzo
Mercatini di Natale in L'Aquila: Artist's lights and typical products
There are several events organized in the region's capital to celebrate the Advent. Until January 6th, in Piazza Duomo, Corso Vittorio Emanuele and Corso Federico II there will be a Christmas Market organised by the L'Aquila CNA Association, with handicrafts and local food specialties. New this year is the Harry Potter themed Christmas Market, for the joy of fans of the saga. There will be street food stalls, shows and a magic school designed for the little ones. Meanwhile, in Piazza Duomo the giant snowman has already been lit, the protagonist of the Luci d'Artista, the lights that light up the streets of the city. Of course, there are also typical products available at the Fiva Confcommercio market at the Collemaggio bus Terminal.
Christmas market at Campo di Giove: the restaurant offers
With its ski slopes, trails and beech forests, Campo di Giove is one of the most popular winter destinations. Until December 22nd, every weekend local artisans will delight visitors with their sweet and savoury specialties. Furthermore, for the occasion, local restaurants will offer special lunch and dinner menus, with Christmas dishes inspired by local cuisine. In short, an ideal stopover to walk among wooden houses and tasting counters, savouring the authentic Abruzzo gastronomy.
Christmas Market in Pacentro: workshops and food specialties
It would be folly to forgo Pacentro, one of the most evocative villages of Abruzzo, which during the Christmas period turns into a picturesque village with wooden handicrafts, decoupage crafts, jewels and figurines for the terracotta Nativity. With a variety of workshops for children and lots of good food, the village is the perfect destination for travelers wishing to relax in a magical atmosphere, enjoying enchanting views and discovering a place with ancient history.
Christmas Market in Roseto degli Abruzzi: Teramo cuisine
Overlooking the Adriatic, Roseto degli Abruzzi, too, located in the province of Teramo, reserves pleasant surprises for Christmas lovers, thanks to the market stalls open from December 15th to January 6th in Piazza della Libertà, which will light up with coloured lights and a large lit up Christmas tree. A great opportunity to taste the many specialties of the local Teramo cuisine (like pepatelli, for example), among the richest gastronomies of the region, brought to the table by local producers.
Christmas Market in Santo Stefano di Sessanio: Nativities and small shops
An enchanted village that bewitches at first sight: Santo Stefano di Sessanio is a medieval village frozen in time, which at Christmas transforms into a dreamlike wonderland with a series of unmissable events. Think "presepi diffusi", Nativities scattered across town, for example. Moreover, snowshoe excursions and mountain hikes; and the performance of the show "Dis-enchantment of Christmas", with the songs of the pastoral and peasant tradition, and the itinerant tales and songs of the company RaccontaStorie. Hosting and organising the events are the very local shops and lodging businesses, where guests can stop for a gourmet break.
Christmas Market in Pescara: the geodesic dome, the Children's Village and a fundraiser
The latest news of this year is in Pescara, where a unique attraction has been installed. It's a geodesic dome and is a sort of crystal igloo in Piazza Salotto that will host events and markets up to the Epiphany. There are two main settings: the Dome Theater, with a stage for performances and concerts; and the Fantabosco, a fairy-tale setting designed for children, with entertainment and creative workshops. For the little ones there's also the Children's Village, in addition to the traditional market (also gastronomic) in Piazza Sacro Cuore and along Corso Umberto. Christmas is furthermore also the right time to promote charitable endeavours. In collaboration with the Pescara Asl a fundraiser will be aimed at the purchase of a 20,000 euro incubator to donate to the neonatal ward of the Santo Spirito Civil Hospital.
Christmas Market in Avezzano: Magic of Christmas, Santa’s House and arrosticini
In Avezzano the tree lights and ornaments are already lit in Piazza Risorgimento. In the heart of Marsica this is an ideal destination for families because of the many events scheduled in the second edition of Magie di Natale, organised by Abruzzo in Musica and by the Mayor of Avezzano. There is an ice-skating rink, Santa's House, entertainment and music, as well as many typical delicacies, with several food markets offering sweet and savoury fried pizzas, sandwiches, focaccias and, of course, lots of arrosticini.
Christmas Market in Caramanico Terme: Christmas Village and local products
No matter whether or not you are lovers of Christmas: in this village in the province of Pescara all through December, hikes and activities are organized in the Majella National Park, including horseback riding and quad biking, as well as yoga classes and communal bingo. Equally attractive for our gourmand readers: the heart of the Villaggio di Natale village is the local market with uber-local farmstead products, plus stalls selling vintage and handicraft items.
Christmas Market in Roccaraso: Christmas and New Year's Eve at high altitude
There are about thirty food stands in Piazza Leone, the historic centre of Roccaraso which is also where the House of Santa Claus and the stalls of local artists and artisans are located. But the town is best known for its ski slopes: for those wishing to celebrate at high altitude, the Coppo dell'Orso refuge celebrates the holidays together with typical dishes and good wine. For the night of December 31st, hotels will offer special dinners and a collective toast to the new year in the square.
Christmas Markets in Pratola Peligna: cake competition
Children at the centre in Pratola Peligna, a town located a few kilometers from Sulmona. Every year the town sets up a traditional Fuoco di Santa Lucia bonfire that symbolizes the end of sunlight on the day generally considered the shortest of the year. The bonfire is accompanied by the choir of the students of the German primary school, and the Christmas lights lit by the children on December 8th. Music, sports, products and typical dishes: at the Santoro palace Colella is a tasting of confectionery specialties, judged and awarded in the Cece d'Oro competition, which annually elects the best dessert of the holidays.
Christmas Market in Teramo: antiques and local products
Little wooden houses where Christmas lovers can find original and curious gifts to put under the tree, plus stalls to savour local products, sweets and local wine. The Christmas Village in Piazza Martiri offers many different options, both in terms of food and handicrafts. In fact, this is the ideal place for antiques lovers, who can choose among unique pieces, Christmas ornaments and collectibles. Always with a steaming and delicious plate in their hands!
by Michela Becchi